REVIEW: Wales Mountain Biking

Thursday 21 June 2012

A cracking addition to any mountain biker's bookshelf, this handy guidebook covers 20 of the best natural mountain bike rides all over Wales.

As any self-respecting mountain biker will know, Wales isn't all about easy-to-follow, groomed singletrack playgrounds with inviting cafes, hot showers and purpose-built car parks. There is an altogether more traditional and natural way to experience the Welsh countryside on two wheels. Wales has been a hub of UK mountain biking since long before the first proper trail centres began to come to fruition, and its not hard to see why this landscape has kept riders coming back time and again with its fantastic mixture of thrills and challenges.

Wales Mountain Biking by Tom Hutton is a great little book to inspire you to break away from the comforts of your nearest trail centre and venture out into new territory. Some of the routes in the book are absolute classic rides - rites of passage almost! Take the rugged Gap Road in the central Brecon Beacons, the sumptuous singletrack of the Doethie Valley in mid Wales or the truly epic, rocky trails of Snowdon. Its all here and this book makes it easier for you to get out and conquer these great routes. Tom's comprehensive route descriptions and clear use of Ordnance Survey maps mean that anyone with even the vaguest sense of direction shouldn't have any problems finding their way around the route and back to the start point. As with any off-the-beaten-track ride though, it is worth taking your own map of the area and other safety measures such as a mobile phone and GPS.

The book's contents are broken down into the three main regions: South, Mid and North Wales. The layout is logical and well thought out, with a 'route finder' at the start of each section to easily see where each of the mapped rides starts. Each ride features an overview, step-by-step instructions, a map and an altitude profile. All these features give you a fairly clear understanding of what you're up against from the moment you step into the pedals, but many of the routes contain a few suprises and geographical features which only riding them can uncover. Grab yourself a copy of this handy little book and get out onto those Welsh hills.

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